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Susan Rothenberg

4 November – 20 December 2016
Sperone Westwater, New York
Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg
Susan Rothenberg

Press release

New York, NY – 3 November 2016: Sperone Westwater is pleased to present new paintings by Susan Rothenberg for the artist’s eleventh solo show at the gallery since 1987 and her first show of new work in five years. This follows the gallery’s recent presentation of important vintage works by Rothenberg at Frieze Masters and showcases the artist’s continuing and vital contribution to contemporary painting.


In these new canvases, familiar subjects such as dogs and ravens inhabit ambiguous spaces defined by the artist’s well-known brushwork and a pronounced shift in vivid coloration. These subjects are both archetypal and, in some cases, specifically drawn from the artist’s surroundings—the artist’s beloved dog Bubbles makes an appearance. Rothenberg’s expressive mark, typically bridging figuration and abstraction, shifts across these works to evoke such disparate qualities as the silhouette of a dark bird at night, the flutter of gathered wings, and a luminous aquatic glow. Color plays a dominant and variable role in these new canvases, drawing from brilliant hues that can be found only in a marriage of Rothenberg’s fiction and everyday environment.


Red Bird (2014) depicts the fiery figure of a large bird, consuming the canvas in a contradiction of color—the creature is bold and powerful, though peacefully slumbers. Frenetic brush strokes create the illusion of a gentle motion, for although the scene appears silent and calm, Michael Auping has observed that “Rothenberg is seldom attracted to things that are still.” In Pink Raven (2012), a familiar choice of subject matter returns in an unusual color. Rothenberg paints a pale bird that clings to a metal rail, occupying the composition while the surrounding branches fade into the foggy depths. The mystique surrounding this extraordinary color and atmosphere is no stranger to Rothenberg: as Auping describes it, “Painting from memory is often more fiction than fact. The painter must reconcile two realities: an event as it is remembered, and the event that is the painting.”


Susan Rothenberg’s first solo show in 1975 took place at 112 Greene Street, a legendary alternative space in SoHo, and subsequently had numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Important solo exhibitions include a retrospective organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery that traveled to the Hirshhorn Museum, The Saint Louis Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Seattle Art Museum, and the Dallas Museum of Art (1992-1994); a survey at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo in Monterrey, Mexico (1996-1997); “Susan Rothenberg: Paintings from the 90’s” at The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1999); and an exhibition of drawings and prints at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University which traveled to the Contemporary Museum, Honolulu and the Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe (1998-1999). A survey, “Moving in Place,” was organized by Michael Auping, Chief Curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, and traveled to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe and the Miami Art Museum (2009-2011). Rothenberg’s work is in important public and private collections, including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. In 1987, Rothenberg had her first solo exhibition at Sperone Westwater, where she exhibits regularly (1990, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2016).


Susan Rothenberg is on view at Sperone Westwater from 4 November – 20 December 2016, opening on Friday, 4 November. For more information, please contact:


Gallery Contact:
Lucie Kessler
+1 212 999 7337


Press Contact:
Justin Conner, Third Eye
+1 917 609 8499

Artists in this Exhibition

Exhibition press

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Rare Birds: Susan Rothenberg Discusses Her Recent Paintings, On View In New York
by Andrew Russeth
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